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Executive Director: Risa Beckwith

Dear Kol Emeth Family,

I am exceedingly grateful for this opportunity to work with you as your new executive director in 2020! In many ways, I feel like I have wandered afield to have an adventure, but have now returned. I grew up in Milwaukee where I was very active in my family’s synagogue and the Jewish community as a child and teen. As the BBYO chapter leader, I was the undisputed Scrabble champion at the Winter Regional Convention competition, a skill I have yet to find an application for in my daily life.

I began my career in health care at nineteen, volunteering in inpatient psychiatric units during my time at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied psychology and history.  After obtaining an MA and PsyD in clinical and health psychology in Chicago, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Iowa, specializing in pediatrics and cognitive assessment. As a psychologist, I provided services in many milieus, including juvenile detention, school crisis consultation and IEP advocacy, residential units, day treatment, inpatient medical and psychiatric services, and two comprehensive community health centers, including one serving the Orthodox community. I also taught both medical residents and psychology students, and authored courses in bioethics for nurses and therapists.

After directly experiencing the usual nonprofit challenges related to finance, staffing, and operational robustness, I became interested in defining and integrating operational best practices to facilitate an organization’s ability to deliver on its mission. I returned to school to obtain a Masters degree from Northwestern University, focusing on nonprofit program administration, policy, and population health. 

For almost twenty years, I have been lucky enough to lead and work with teams dedicated to growing influential, impactful, and innovative programs that provide essential human services regardless of the client’s ability to pay. I definitely look forward to being part of the Kol Emeth community as it grows and thrives.

Matthew, my husband of many years, accompanies me on this journey with you. I feel lucky to have found my bashert every day (even though his default Rummikub strategy borders on being unfair).

Contact Risa

Risa can be reached at or by calling the office at (650) 948-7498.

Mon, April 15 2024 7 Nisan 5784